Live-action adaptation of animes is a hit and miss. Samurai-X fans will be happy to know that Rurouni Kenshin, is definitely a hit.
The live-action film was able to present a decent narrative from two story arcs. The story skipped some plot points in the anime series, but not to the detriment of the narrative in the film.
It looks grounded and, even for the over top villain and anime antics, realistic. The set pieces were lifted from the anime series and added with period detail. The characters sweat under their kimonos and get grimy from the action. The set pieces were smaller compared to the anime series, but considering the budget needed to create an exact replica of the historical settings, it’s understandable.
The characters were directly lifted from the series, each with their own familiar nuances. The lead actor was able to capture both two sides of the wandering samurai – the sometimes clueless and silently brooding Kenshin, and the serious and misguided Battousai. The rest of the characters were good, with Sanosuke providing much of the laughs.
The film relied on wirework and practical effects with Hong Kong style action scenes, giving it cool and kinetic sequences. The lead actor was able to perfectly execute every fighting pose that you would have found in the anime series. The sword fights were serious with enough CGI blood spills.
The serious side of the film though clashes with its silly overtones. There’s enough characterization here to introduce the main cast but there are some minor kinks. Saito in the film lacks the slyness of his manga counterpart. Emi Takei is too good-looking to play Kaoru – a supposedly average strongly built woman. There are times that she even overshadows Megumi, who is supposed to be a bombshell.
But these are minute flaws in a rarely good live-action anime. Fans can rest assured that their favorite anime remains as funny, charming, and enjoyable as their younger selves remember it to be.
Rurouni Kenshin (Samurai X)
Rurouni Kenshin is a live-action Samurai X that will entertain fans and new audiences with spectacular wire-fu, faithful adaptation, and perfect casting.